-Bit Boxes Await SQL Server 2005"> Masland said NECs ability to integrate features into SQL Server 2005including data mirroringand into the Itanium 2 products will be important as the company continues its push into the North American market. He said the database product will not only find acceptance in NECs current installed base but also will help to fuel NECs growth. "The Itanium server has some great areas where it can be used today," Masland said. "One of these is databases, where weve had a lot of success in the past."The Express5800/1000 series offers eight to 32 processors and up to 512GB of memory.Over at AMD, excitement over SQL Server 2005 is running high, according to Margaret Lewis, commercial software strategist, given that databases are one of the applications very well-suited for 64-bit. While SQL Server 2000 has for awhile offered a 64-bit version for Itanium, SQL Server 2005 brings the database into a more pervasive, mainstream server market, as opposed to the Itaniums high-end, niche server market, she said. After all, the majority of databases Microsoft sells are on X86-based platforms, not Itanium, she said. AMD has released benchmarks that show Opteron-based servers running SQL Server 2005 being comparable to proprietary, RISC-based platforms. That means that for comparable performance, businesses will now be able to pay about half the amount of money. Lewis said this addresses something data center customers are particularly worried about: bringing in powerful servers that need a lot of power and cooling. For the financial community in Manhattan, for example, its simply not doable, given the astronomical costs associated with bringing additional power lines into buildings. "If you look at database trends, you saw people buying high-end, large, SMP servers for running critical databases," Lewis said. "Not having much of an alternative in terms of performance and reliability and availability. Now were getting to the point in the world where you can replace some high-end, proprietary servers with cost-efficient, powerful, industry standard computers." That will mark an evolutionary leap for databases, she said. "Thats going to be a big switch," she said. eWEEK Senior Editor Jeff Burt contributed to this story. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.